We are currently living outside the US and part of the motivation for making the move was to dramatically cut down on some planned noncovered medical expenses. We still have a few years of work before we reach FI, so we wanted to keep saving at a maximum rate. Given this I have been thinking a lot about health care options during early retirement and ways to keep costs down. I saw this article and wondered if anyone going with Jacob's idea of high deductible HSA medical insurance had tried out the method and getting low cost lab test mentioned in the article?
lab tests(4 posts)
Reading the article, it is great for the uninsured, or someone whose doctor would accept the tests. However, like most medical things, it brings up a horrific anger factor. If the lab can do the blood test for $18.00, and the patient does the leg work, then why can't the doctor draw the blood in his office and send it out for the test for around $36.00? That gives the doc a cool $18.00 bucks for a prick and draw which it takes five minutes to draw the blood, and some runner takes the sample to the lab, and the lab faxes back the results. Well, only $18.00 for the stick, and no profit on the test is not going to cut it. We have a BMW, a lake house, a European vacation, and a few medical conferences in New York to pay for.
Most docs are going to need $250.00 for a series of blood panels before they are worth looking at. Plus they have to bill medicare that much in order to "get" $36.00 out of them, after the patient's co pay.
Not to worry, Obamacare is going to insure everyone. No shortcuts allowed. The taxpayers will be paying around $500.00 for those blood panels beginning next year.
Don't forget that the average med student graduates with $156,456.00 in debt. Honestly, I'm not sure if that's just grad school debt or includes the poorly paid residency. I'm not saying the system isn't broken, but it's not always about BMWs and vacation houses.
I have had self-pay patients do things similar to the CNN article, and it really worked out great. I really thought it was awesome-- I got a fella a pretty comprehensive evaluation for his problem (it was a very serious problem) for under $700 (including MRI and blood work). I was excited to be honest. And, to be entirely truthful, I was rewarded too-- for my legwork and efforts to find him a low cost, but quality eval-- he paid me more than many of my insured patients would for the same services. We were both happy. He even sent me a thank-you card.
I have had patients tell me that other docs wouldn't let them do this. I don't think that's too common, though to be fair there are some labs that I would want done at a specific place, but the majority can be done almost anywhere.
HSpencer, you make some good and funny points. For me, it's the country club membership and hair implants. I'm not gonna cover those costs with $18 margins :)
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